Deal is a town on the rise - let's keep it going higher
Since I was elected in 2010, I have campaigned to promote tourism to our picturesque seaside towns. To make Dover and Deal places to come to, not pass through.
Deal has come a long way in the past five years. This week, it was hailed in the national press as one of Britain's top 20 unspoilt seaside gems. The piece highlighted the town's rich maritime heritage, beautiful sea views, bustling art galleries, and award-winning restaurants.
Deal is also becoming a centre for arts and culture in East Kent. The Deal Music and Arts Festival this summer was a great success. The award winning high street continues to go from strength to strength. Walmer Castle is celebrating the 200th anniversary of Waterloo in style with an exhibition about the Duke of Wellington - our previous Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. I want more tourists visiting Deal to see all the great things it has to offer.
Deal is a town on the up, but we need to keep it moving that way. We must make sure we have the infrastructure in place to assure continued success. One way we can do this is by getting a fairer share of healthcare and making sure Deal Hospital is not just safeguarded but provides more clinics and services.
Back in 2006, NHS chiefs decided to axe outpatient services at Deal Hospital. The hospital was left teetering on the edge of closure. Our community rallied round to save the Hospital, signing petitions and attending packed public meetings. The NHS chiefs gave way and promised the Hospital would remain open.
Now, local doctors have a plan to develop a new Health and Social Care Hub at Deal Hospital. The hub will allow more services to be based in Deal and will enable more people to get better in our community. I strongly support the plans to provide more joined-up care at the hospital and safeguard it for the future.
It's also crucial we continue to boost Deal's transport links. Thanks to hard working campaigners, a high speed train now sweeps into Deal every hour of every day. This is great for jobs and money in our area, and allows more tourists to visit our beautiful corner of Kent. I will always fight to maintain this hard-won high speed service.
I am also making the case for a new link road from the A256 to the A258 in North Deal. A new dualled link road would take pressure off the death trap A258, ease gridlock and take traffic out of the centre of Deal. It would lessen congestion and pollution in the town.
Deal is a town on the rise. I will continue to campaign for even more improvements to build on its amazing success.